Vic manufacturer fined after worker suffers hand injury


Tuesday, 01 November, 2022

Vic manufacturer fined after worker suffers hand injury

Corrugated cardboard manufacturer Carton Finishing Pty Ltd has been fined a total of $40,000 after failing to control health and safety risks from a gluing machine at its factory in Campbellfield, Victoria. The company pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to provide safe plant and a single charge of failing to ensure that the presence and location of asbestos was clearly indicated. The company was fined $20,000 without conviction for each charge and ordered to pay $4319 in costs.

In January 2020, a worker sustained a serious hand injury while operating a machine used to glue pieces of cardboard together. The worker’s hand became caught in a pulley belt rotating at high speed after they tripped on hoses laying on the ground nearby and fell forward into the machine. After the incident, a WorkSafe inspector issued a prohibition notice in relation to access to the danger areas of the machine. Improvement notices were also issued for other risks associated with the machine.

In March 2020, inspectors following up on the improvement notices were advised by the company that 12 insulating blocks used to shield heat from the machine contained asbestos. Subsequent tests confirmed that the blocks contained chrysotile asbestos. The court heard that it was reasonably practicable for the company to have eliminated or reduced the risk to health and safety by installing guarding to prevent access to the machine’s moving parts. The company also had a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to ensure the insulating blocks were clearly labelled as containing asbestos.

WorkSafe Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said there is no excuse for leaving workers exposed to risks from unsafe machinery. “Employers must ensure any machine used in their workplace is fitted with adequate guarding and that any attachments are made from appropriate materials. WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute companies that put their workers at risk every day,” Beer said.

WorkSafe Victoria encourages employers to identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them, and eliminate or control those risks by isolating them or using an alternative. To better manage risks when working with machinery, employers should also train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment and provide written procedures in the worker’s first language. Employers are urged to develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives, with signs placed on or near a machine to alert employees of the dangers of operating it. Employers should also ensure safety guards and gates are compliant and fixed to machines at all times, and that all machines are regularly serviced and inspected.

Image credit: iStock.com/agnormark

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